Friday, March 12, 2010

The Newspaper

Sunday is the day my husband reads the paper, and every Sunday I am reminded how much I miss that Sunday ritual: a long lazy day spent curled up with The Globe and Mail or the National Post, or, if I've really got time, The New York Times. The day is divided into chunks of reading time broken up by compulsory Sunday errands, and after each one, I settle down again in my comfy chair with a fresh cup of coffee for another stint of pleasurable reading. I still read on Sundays, just not the newspaper. And it's not the same.

One takes for granted one's ability to read well. I can pick up any English language paper, scan the headlines for articles that interest me, and then either skim them or delve into them and absorb every word. Of course it took me almost twenty years of schooling to get to that point. As good as my spoken Turkish has become, I've spent ridiculously little time reading or writing the language; never mind that newspapers are written in a more formal style than is spoken, with unfamiliar vocabulary and grammar. As a result, reading a Turkish newspaper article involves me struggling slowly, line by line, dictionary in hand, and reminds me of trying to get through a French reading assignment in junior high.

If I lived in Istanbul, I could pick up English language newspapers and magazines quite easily. For a price, of course; an issue of Vogue costs around 25 Lira, or about $20cdn. But out here, only the major booksellers carry international press, and then sporadically. So for someone like me who hates to sit idly and tries to fill every spare minute doing something, preferably reading, forgetting to stuff a book in one's bag for that train ride or wait at the dentist is agonizing. There's no such thing in my life anymore as the hasty mid-week pick-up-to-pass-the-time paper or magazine.

Interestingly, I rarely visit the website of any major newspaper, which begs the question, why do I miss the papers so much? Perhaps it's more about the feel of the thing, the way people speak of the smell of books. I think this Sunday, I'll pick up a section of my husband's Hurriyet, open it up and hold it in front of me, looking at its colourful pictures and turning the pages. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get more satisfaction out of that than I think!

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